Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation dba Saving Sight
10560 N Ambassador Dr
Suite 210
Kansas City MO 64153-2313

Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (800) 753-2265
Fax 816- 454-5446
Mission Statement
We change lives by saving sight. Saving Sight strives to be the global partnership model for how eye banking and charitable vision services can most effectively serve people and communities. 
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Tony Bavuso
Board Chair Lion Patrick Martchink
Board Chair Company Affiliation House Springs Lions Club
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1973
Former Names
Heartland Lions Eye Banks
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer

Donations are welcome and can be made online at https://www.saving-sight.org/give or mailed direct to Saving Sight: 10560 N Ambassador Dr., Suite 210, Kansas City, MO 64153

Those interested in volunteering may contact Saving Sight at 800-753-2265, ext. 431 or via e-mail; volunteer@saving-sight.org. More information about volunteer opportunities is available online at www.saving-sight.org/volunteer.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement We change lives by saving sight. Saving Sight strives to be the global partnership model for how eye banking and charitable vision services can most effectively serve people and communities. 
Background Statement
In 1960, the Missouri Lions joined forces with the University of Missouri-Columbia to form the Lions Eye Tissue Bank. The Lions provided financial support, and the University supplied equipment, laboratory space, and staff. This brought the "Gift of Sight" to Missouri by providing the means to donate eyes, evaluate and distribute the corneas for corneal transplant surgery, and utilize non-transplantable parts of donated eyes for research and medical education.
The 1970s laid the groundwork for what would eventually become Saving Sight. In 1972, The Eye Research Foundation of Missouri was formalized as a publicly owned, nonprofit organization. In that same year, the Board of Trustees of the Bethesda Eye Foundation (BEF) in Bethesda, MD agreed to name the Missouri Foundation as its successor and contributed $850,000 to the newly formed organization. By 1974, the Foundation began construction on its new facility in eastern Columbia, using the BEF resources, $250,000 contributed by the Missouri Lions, and six acres of land donated by Bryon and Gail Keene. The Foundation also added several programs during the 1970's, such as ocular research and glaucoma screenings.
At the 1987 State Convention, the Lions of Missouri voted to make the Foundation their State Sight Project, renaming it the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation.
In 1994, in collaboration with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the Foundation piloted amblyopia screenings, and by 1999, the screenings grew state-wide as the Children’s Vision Screening program. Over the past 19 years, the program has screened more than 300,000 children in Missouri for amblyopia and other common childhood vision problems. On December 1, 2013, the program rebranded as KidSight.  And in 1997, the Foundation added eye banking operations in Kansas and central Illinois. This prompted the creation of Heartland Lions Eye Banks, which is now one of the largest eye banks in the U.S.
In 2013, the Board of Directors passed a motion to change the name of the organization to Saving Sight, effective December 1, 2013. Uniting the eye bank and charitable programs under a single brand identity was a key first step in implementing the organization's strategic plan. The Saving Sight organization has undergone many transformations over the past 53 years, and under the strategic plan it will undergo many more, but the mission remains the same: we change lives by saving sight.
Impact Statement

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), our programs served thousands of individuals worldwide, highlighted by these accomplishments:

  • Saving Sight's eye bank recovered, processed and distributed donated corneal tissue for 2,957 transplant recipients. Additionally, we've collaborated with Donate Life Missouri, Donate Life Kansas and Donate Life Illinois to encourage people to sign up for the eye, organ and tissue donor registry.
  • Saving Sight expanded its offerings to transplant surgeons by providing tissue preloaded and prepared for two additional types of surgical techniques.
  • Last year, Saving Sight provided more than 58,000 recycled eyeglasses collected and prepared by Missouri Lions for international mission trips.
  • Additionally, in 2017 Saving Sight processed 1,674 recycled eyeglasses in a collaboration with nonprofit organization, Respectacle, for its online distribution database, providing glasses to those in need.
Needs Statement

Saving Sight’s greatest needs are in the following areas:

  1. Financial Support for Equipment- Saving Sight has recently expanded its laboratory in Kansas City in an effort to increase efficiencies and capacity in processing tissue for transplant. However, aging and outdated equipment in the lab limits us from making every effort to place the greatest amount of donor tissue and steward each donor’s gift. Currently, we are seeking funding for 2 microscopes at approximately $25,000 each. This equipment will allow us to reduce the amount of tissue that is unnecessarily ruled out for transplantation.
  2. Financial Support for Eyeglass Recycling- Saving Sight seeks out financial support to offset costs of running its eyeglass recycling program, which includes collection, sorting and storage of approximately 80,000 eyeglasses on an annual basis. The cost of this program is approximately $35,000/year.
  3. Volunteer Support for Eyeglass Recycling- Saving Sight continues to seek individuals or groups that are interested in donating used eyeglasses or volunteer to sort eyeglasses in Columbia, MO.
Service Categories
Organ & Tissue Banks
Eye Diseases, Blindness & Vision Impairment
Areas of Service
MO - Clay County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
MO - Liberty
MO - Platte County
MO - Ray County
MO - Cass County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

We change lives by saving sight. Our work in cornea donation and transplantation brings renewed vision and independence to people who have lost the gift of sight to corneal blindness.  

The need for our services remains high.  Our biggest challenge in the upcoming years is finding the funding necessary to enhance and grow our programs to provide the quality vision services we are known for. To positively impact the lives of as many people as we possibly can, we welcome and appreciate your support for this important work.
Tony Bavuso
Chief Executive Officer
Saving Sight
Description Since 1960, Saving Sight has coordinated eye donation and the distribution of corneas for transplant. Today, we operate in Missouri, Kansas, and central Illinois, and we distribute corneas to transplant surgeons in those states, the rest of the U.S., and around the world to help people receive the precious gift of sight.
Program Budget $710,000,000.00
Category Health Care, General/Other Anatomical Gifts Provision
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Saving Sight provided corneal tissue to 2,957 transplant recipients in its service area, nationally and throughout the world.
Long-Term Success There will be enough corneas available for every person who needs one, in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois, and ultimately, the world. 
Program Success Monitored By Patient and doctor satisfaction surveys, internal data collection and evaluation.
Examples of Program Success
For 23 years, Angela was 100 percent blind in her right eye.
When Angela went in for what was a routine eye exam to get new contacts in 2017, her eye doctor expressed concerns about her right eye (which she had been blind in for as long as she can remember) and thought she might have Keratoconus. Her doctor referred her to see an ophthalmologist at MU Health Care. “The following week, when I met my would-be surgeons, they confirmed I had severe Keratoconus, explained what it was, what my options were, and what it would mean if I opted not to do the surgery,” says Angela. “After going over all the pros and cons with my family and the risks (which were incredibly minimal due to my current condition), I scheduled my surgery the following month.”
Angela underwent a cornea transplant to correct her disease, with the added bonus possibility of regaining vision. The procedure took 4 hours and was a success.
Description Eyeglass Recycling has been a signature project for Lions Clubs across the country for more than 70 years. Saving Sight supports the Lions in this cause by serving as a collection and distribution center for recycled eyeglasses, collecting approximately 60,000 pairs per year. In 2015, Saving Sight began partnering with ReSpectacle, too, which increased the number of gently used eyeglasses that are recycled by distributing them for free via ReSpectacle’s innovative online database and ordering system.
Program Budget $50,000.00
Category Health Care, General/Other Health Care, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
In FY 2015-2016, Saving Sight distributed 58,300 recycled glasses to 26 humanitarian groups who saved sight throughout North America, Asia and Africa.
Saving Sight also processed and provided 1,674 recycled eyeglasses for partner nonprofit, Respectacle’s, online distribution database to give to those in need free of charge.
Long-Term Success

For disadvantaged people, a pair of used eyeglasses can mean the difference between drowning in poverty and providing for their families. The World Health Organization estimates that 153 million people worldwide suffer from refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism), which can usually be corrected with glasses. With strong vision, children can do better in school, adults can return to the workforce, and everyone can better accomplish the tasks of daily life.

That’s why Saving Sight partners with Lions clubs, ReSpectacle, and humanitarian groups to collect used eyeglasses and recycle them by distributing them to people in need. Join us in Eyeglass Recycling so people can get the vision they need to lead healthy, independent lives.

Program Success Monitored By Monitoring eyeglass distribution.
Examples of Program Success
The Emmaus Medical Mission traveled to Sumpango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala in 2018 to provide quality medical care free of charge for humanitarian purposes to the needy people of Guatemala. Mission volunteers also spend time with the children who live at the Misioneros del Camino Orphanage, the organization in Guatemala that hosts the mission. Saving Sight sent glasses with the group and 100 non-prescription sunglasses, 200 readers, and 200 single vision glasses were distributed to those in need.
Because the mission takes place at the Misioneros del Camino Orphanage and School, volunteers are also able to interact with the children who live in the orphanage. The arrival of the mission every six months is incredibly exciting for the children in the orphanage. Older orphaned teens living at the orphanage are able to volunteer alongside the American volunteers. They help to organize paperwork, direct patients to the appropriate doctors, and otherwise provide support to the mission.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Tony Bavuso
Term Start July 2013
Tony Bavuso brings 20 years of experience in organizational leadership and eye tissue banking, previously serving as Saving Sight’s chief operating officer. He served in a senior role to lead its cornea donation & transplantation division in pursuing new eye banking technologies and forging relationships with organizational partners.
Mr. Bavuso has also served as a member of Vision Share, a nonprofit consortium of eye banks, as well as the Eye Bank Association of America.
Former CEOs
Dr. Ron WalkenbachSept 1981 - July 2013
Paid Full-Time Staff 67
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 50
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Community Health Charities2015
External Assessment and Accreditations
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance2015
Eye Bank Association of America2016
U.S. Food and Drug Administration2016
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Lion Patrick Martchink
Company Affiliation House Springs Lions Club
Term July 2018 to June 2019
Board Members
PCC Larry BoettcherMarceline Lions Club
CC Ron CampbellSt. Joseph Lions Club
Dr. Frederick FraunfelderUniversity of Missouri School of Ophthalmology
Dr. Michael KorenfeldComprehensive Eye Care Ltd.
Lion Allen LohsandtSelf-Employed Farmer/Wellington Lions
Lion Pat Martchink
Lion Dr. Cassidy ObermarkEye Health Care/Plaza Optical / Sikeston Lions
Lion Mike Oldelehr
PDG Stuart PayneLegget Platt/Carl Junction Lions
Hon. Jeff W. SchaeperkoetterRetired judge and attorney
VCC Pat ScottMayview Lions Club
PDG Roger TiemannLaGrange Lions Club
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 93%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 85%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $7,464,782
Projected Expenses $7,440,452
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2018, 2017, 2016: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Individual revenue line items include contributions from Lions Clubs, and may also include corporate revenue.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201820172016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses($266,749)$206,232$655,909
Membership Dues$0--$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0--$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201820172016
Program Expense$7,139,762$6,814,210$7,363,971
Administration Expense$651,263$1,529,904$2,506,803
Fundraising Expense$65,772$112,418$197,160
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.041.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses91%81%73%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$5,768,170$4,276,685$8,223,371
Current Assets$1,598,558$1,504,510$2,142,378
Long-Term Liabilities$1,313,334$0$0
Current Liabilities$510,876$354,943$812,695
Total Net Assets$3,943,960$3,921,742$7,410,676
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.134.242.64
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets23%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Anonymous $375,075
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Anonymous $70,579
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Anonymous $26,100
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Dates to Dec 2015
Amount Raised to Date $41,550.00 as of Oct 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Other Documents
Annual Report2016View
Annual Report2015View
Annual Report2014View
Organization Name Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation dba Saving Sight
Address 10560 N Ambassador Dr
Suite 210
Kansas City, MO 641532313
Primary Phone (800) 753-2265
Contact Email pr@saving-sight.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Tony Bavuso
Board Chair Lion Patrick Martchink
Board Chair Company Affiliation House Springs Lions Club
Year of Incorporation 1973
Former Names
Heartland Lions Eye Banks